Envisioning Tomorrow

Enterprise Data Architect, Sophia, shares how centralizing data from around the world helps us predict real estate trends decades into the future.

October 12, 2022 3 Minute Read

Sophia headshot

When people think of commercial real estate, data and technology don’t immediately come to mind. However, when you’re the industry leader creating real estate solutions for the spaces of tomorrow, they go hand in hand. Arming ourselves with data and technology that helps us forecast real estate trends decades into the future is just one of the ways our world-class talent helps us stay ahead of the curve.

Meet Sophia, Enterprise Data Architect

“Our Enterprise Data Platform (EDP) isn't just using data localized within the US, it's global. Having real estate data from around the world in one centralized place—data you can use in key decision making or machine learning—game changer!” She says with an almost child-like excitement. Sophia leads a formidable team integral in the design and launch of CBRE’s proprietary Enterprise Data Platform, a tool that sees over 36 billion data points across 300 global sources of data. “We brought in data from different sources around the globe, unified it, mastered it, and made it consumable for different systems.”

Those systems now serve to empower real estate decision makers with foresight that shapes the future of where we live and work. “We have an application called Market IQ, powered by the EDP, which is widely used by researchers and brokers all around the globe to forecast real estate trends years in advance. Initially, it was intended for US researchers. Then, it was adopted by the APAC [Asia-Pacific] region and now the EMEA [Europe, Middle East, Africa] region is also actively using it. We played a major role in the integration for APAC, bringing the data from that region into the EDP and making it available for other systems to consume.”

Team Spirit Across Oceans

Part of what drives Sophia is her team’s dedication to the work and the spirit of collaboration. "Aside from the cutting-edge technology, the people...that matters a lot. I have a very good team in India that I have daily, early morning calls with. They’re a very responsible, hardworking, talented, and results-oriented team. They make it to the finish line on time and deliver quality products so I'm really happy about that.” For her colleagues Stateside, she boasts, “It's like an extended family when we come to the office. It almost feels like there isn't really a hierarchical system and anybody can go to anyone.”

From Printed Circuit Boards to Data Architect: Journey to CBRE

Growing up in India, now living in the US, Sophia recalls her route to tech, “I never wanted to take up the path of becoming a doctor. There was so much to read and memorize and I didn’t want to do that. I’ve always loved math and was always good at physics and chemistry as well. That’s what led me to engineering initially.” Graduating with distinction, she holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India.

Her first post-graduate professional role was at a telecommunication public sector company where she designed printed circuit boards for VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal). Close to 30 years later, her industry experience ranges from telecommunication to banking. She credits her career longevity to the thrill of the learning cycle for new technologies. “When I previously worked at a major banking institution, we were getting into NoSQL and distributed databases. I started working with microservices based architecture with Cassandra as the database and adopted DevOps practices and infrastructures (Jenkins, Mesos, Marathon, Kubernetes etc.). That technology was new to me at the time. I learned a lot being there, but our resources were a bit limited. I decided to join CBRE mainly because I was enthusiastic about the technology and the freedom to experiment with modern tech stacks. We use innovative and cutting-edge technology, which keeps it interesting here, and the work is also on a much larger scale. We recently started using the top cloud data warehouse, Snowflake for data mart as a service. To keep up with this latest technology, I am now SnowPro certified. Our D&T has a lot to offer to the new hires”

Life at Play

Sophia and her family“I love to go biking and trekking. I'm more of an outdoor person. I’m from a place that's at the southern tip of India, which is surrounded by mountains and beaches. It's a beautiful place, so we used to do a lot of outdoor activities. I grew up doing something similar to Girl Scouts when I was in school. I was so into it; I even got an award from the Indian President at the time. I love to do the same thing here in the states—biking, trekking and spending time with the family, going camping. Our family time is very important.

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